Current DOL PERM & Prevailing Wage Processing Updates

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

NOTE:  This article has been updated to provide the latest information on PERM and PWD processing times available from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).    

Current PERM and PWD Processing Times 

  • The DOL has updated prevailing wage determination (PWD) and permanent labor certification (PERM) processing times.             

What are the Latest PERM Processing Times?    

As of March 31, 2024, the DOL wasadjudicating PERM applicationsfiled in or before March 2023. The agency was conducting audit reviews for PERM applications filed in or before December 2022 and reviewingrequests for reconsideration filed in or before May 2023.         

Through March 31, 2024, averagePERM processingtimewas 397 daysfor adjudication. Average PERM processing time for audit review was 477 days.  

What are the Latest PWD Processing Times?  

As of March 31, 2024, the DOL was processing PERM-based PWD requests filed in October 2023 for determinations based on DOL wage data andMarch 2023 for determinations based on other submitted wage sources. The DOL was processing PERM-basedPWD redetermination requests for cases filed inNovember 2023 and earlier.


There are several key steps employers must take when helping their employees obtain an employment-based green card through PERM labor certification.  We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help answer some common questions about the PERM labor certification process and the prevailing wage determination (PWD) process. Both have instrumental roles in obtaining an employment-based green card.  

Learn more about both application types, the application process for each, and their role in helping foreign workers obtain a green card 

Common Green Card PERM FAQs  

The following PERM frequently asked questions (FAQs) can help you navigate the green card process.

What are the Steps in the PERM Green Card Process?   

Obtaining a green card is a multi-step process that includes the following steps:  

Step 1: File Form 9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, with the Department of Labor (DOL). After filing, applicants should get a certified Prevailing Wage Determination in approximately 6-8 months. The employer is certifying the green card position in this first step including job title, duties, location, and the minimum requirements for hire into the role. The minimum job requirements impact the green card category the sponsorship will be eligible for.  EB-2 positions require at least a bachelor’s degree and five years of work experience, or a master’s degree. EB-3 positions have lesser education and work experience requirements.  

Step 2: The employer completes the recruitment process, which usually takes about three months. The recruitment process must last at least 60 days, and it cannot exceed 180 days.  

Step 3: After recruitment is complete, the next step is filing Form 9089, Application for Permanent Employment Certification (“PERM”). The date that the Form 9089 is filed will become the worker’s priority date (see Step 4). It takes about 12 months to receive a certified Form 9089 from the DOL. However, the DOL may issue an audit, which is a normal part of the PERM process and increases the processing time. About 25% of all PERM cases are audited.  

Step 4: The certified PERM is received.  The next step is filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Form I-140 processing time is generally 6-9 months. USCIS will approve the form and certify the priority date. The priority date marks the employee’s place in line to file Form I-485 for a green card. The wait time to the last step and I-485 filing depends on employment category (EB-2 or EB-3) and country of birth.  

Step 5: The last step is filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence. Applicants may file when their priority date is current. Form I-485 processing time averages about 1.5 years. 

When Should I Start the PERM Process? 

At a minimum, employers should start the PERM application process no less than two years before the employee’s work visa maximum stay.  However, it’s a good idea to start the process earlier  as processing times can increase and unforeseen problems can arise, which delay or otherwise stall the process.  

Who Processes PERM Applications? 

The U.S. Department of Labor processes PERM applications. 

Is Premium Processing Available for PERM Applications? 

Premium processing is not available for PERM applications, but it is available for Form I-140 Petitions. Expediting the Form I-140 Petition approval through premium processing may be very helpful for employees nearing their 6-year H-1B work visa maximum stay.   

Can I Apply for an H-1B Seventh-Year Extension with a Pending or Approved PERM Application?  

Yes, you can apply for a seventh-year H-1B extension, provided your approved or pending PERM application was filed more than 365 days ago, including audit time.  

How Many Cases are Selected for PERM Audits? 

The DOL audits approximately 25% of PERM cases per fiscal year. 

An audit is the DOL’s comprehensive review to verify that an employer is complying with the PERM program’s requirements and most often, the audit is issued randomly. However, some PERM criteria can trigger an audit and the DOL may also audit cases to check for fraud.  

How Should I Prepare for a PERM Audit?   

A DOL audit may be issued at random or be triggered by certain PERM criteria or an employer’s actions. Regardless of why the audit is initiated, the DOL will want additional information and documentation from the employer, which may include proof of all recruitment methods, documentation of all job applicants and their lawful disqualification bases, and explanation of the business necessity for the PERM role’s minimum requirements. 

In the event of an audit, the DOL will require employers to provide the information within a certain timeframe. An audit will increase PERM processing time and failure to properly respond will result in a denial and the possibility of DOL supervised recruitment in further PERM filings.  

PERM audits can be stressful for both employers and their employees and PERM denials can be impactful to the employee’s continued work authorization and the employer’s ability to file further PERM applications. That’s why making sure you’re ready in case of an audit is imperative.

How Can I Check PERM Processing Time Online? 

For an estimate of your PERM processing time, check the DOL’s website 

Envoy Global and CIP are here to assist with PERM audit preparation. Contact us to find out how we’ll help you navigate the audit process!  

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Common Green Card PWD FAQs 

The following PWD frequently asked questions (FAQs) can help you navigate the green card process.

Are PERM and PWD the Same? 

PERM and PWD applications are both required for a PERM employment-based green card. PERM certifications are required by employers to sponsor PERM-based green card applications. They involve several steps, including obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD), job recruitment (demonstrating that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position), and filing an application for Permanent Employment Certification (PERM) with the DOL.  

The Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) application is step one of the PERM process. The PWD determines the minimum wage or salary that the employer must pay the employee when they receive their green card. The DOL considers factors such as job duties, job requirements, and the geographic location of the job to determine the minimum wage that the employer must pay.  

What do OEWS and Non-OEWS Mean? 

The term “OEWS” is the abbreviation for “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.” OEWS is a DOL program that is a wage source for PWDs. Most PWD applications use OEWS as their wage source. Some PWD applications use non-OEWS wage sources instead. Those wage sources include collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and private wage surveys. 

The DOL reports processing time for OEWS-based PWD applications and non-OEWS-based PWD applications separately based on date of filing (“receipt date”). 

Can PERM and PWD Applications be Filed Together?   

No. A Form ETA 9089 being filed for a PERM-based role may only be filed once the Prevailing Wage Determination is issued and recruitment is complete.   

What is the Difference Between PERM and PWD in GC Processing? 

The PERM and Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) application processes are distinct and complex. The PWD is step one and, importantly, it sets the foundation for success in the subsequent steps. Once the PWD and recruitment (step two) are complete. The PERM application is a summary of the employee’s qualifications and an approved permanent labor certification means the petitioner made a good faith effort to test the labor market and demonstrated to the DOL that there were no qualified, able, and available U.S. workers for the position.  

Each step of the green card process must be completed correctly and, due to long processing times, a mistake at any step may not be learned for quite some time. As such, employers navigating the PERM process should partner with a trusted immigration services provider with expertise in PERM.

Envoy Global and CIP are here to assist with the PERM process. Along with checking the DOL’s website for current processing times, we also encourage you to contact Envoy Global and CIP for personalized assistance with navigating the green card process and preparing your employees’ PERM and PWD applications correctly.  

Looking Ahead 

This article is updated monthly to reflect updates to PERM and PWD processing times.  Please visit the DOL’s website   for additional information.      

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Envoy is pleased to provide you with this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh and Joy Ang, Partners, at Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., a U.S. law firm who provides services through the Envoy Platform (the “U.S. Law Firm”).  

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Envoy is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice. If you would like guidance on how this information may impact your particular situation and you are a client of the U.S. Law Firm, consult your attorney. If you are not a client of the U.S. Law Firm working with Envoy, consult another qualified professional. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship with the U.S. Law Firm.